Ajeet Singh. Image Credit: Alaric Gomes/Gulf News

Dubai: By the time the Tokyo Paralympics open next year, India’s Ajeet Singh should be closer to being addressed as ‘Doctor’.

The javelin thrower from India who made an impact on his international debut while winning gold at the 2019 World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Beijing, China, earlier this year, is hopeful of scaling further heights during this week’s 2019 Dubai World Para Athletics Championships that got under way, on Thursday.

Currently ranked No. 4 in the world, Singh’s entry into para athletics happened when he lost his left hand in a train accident while trying to save his friend from falling at the Gwalior railway station. After spending four months in a hospital and going through a long spate of depression, Singh completed his Masters in Physical Education and is currently pursuing his PhD from Gwalior’s Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE).

“The accident changed my life forever. Somehow I knew that it would never be the same again for me, no matter what. It was tough coming to terms with the loss of my left hand, but it also scarred me,” Singh told Gulf News.

“Everything has taken a toll on me, but time has been a great healer for me. My family and my friends have stood by me and things are back to normal with me now,” he added.

A student of the Department of Exercise Physiology, Singh was always a keen learner with tertiary interests in sports as hobby. “But during recuperation and my inner turmoil I was coaxed into taking up some sport as a digression, and I chose javelin. While on the one hand, I spend a lot of time training I also ensure I am abreast of my academics as that is what will be my strength in the future,” Singh said.

India have a squad of 23 athletes and another 10 officials at the Dubai competition that will run until November 15. The Indians are hoping to do well with the F46 category tightly contested with Singh challenged by top-ranked Sundar Singh Gurjar. “Yes, it’s going to be tough. But then we have the best athletes from the world here and it will be a double delight if I can win a medal and qualify to Tokyo 2020 at the same time,” Singh said.

Coming into these championships, Singh has been nursing an injury on his hand, but he doesn’t even want to pay any attention to such minor ailments. “No pain, no gain,” he said.

“To me, pain is like jewellery on an athlete. If there isn’t any pain then the success can never be worth it. I am committed to giving off more than 100 per cent to ensure I get a medal and qualify for my first-ever Paralympic Games.”